Buying CBD products shouldn’t be intimidating. CBD, though federally legal, is not a regulated substance acknowledged by the FDA, so that can make it more challenging to feel confident when purchasing CBD products. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the important things you should be looking for when you buy CBD, whether you shop in a brick and mortar store or online. We’ve sorted out the top 5 things that we think are most important to look for when buying CBD, but we’ve also added some honorable mention extras that you shouldn’t pass over.
Without further ado…
The Top 5 Things To Look For When Buying CBD
While there is a lot to pay attention to when buying something that you are wanting to use for health benefits or even recreationally, there are some factors that are especially important to look at. As with any other vitamin or new product, you should chat with your doctor first to make sure these types of products are right for you and don’t interact with certain medications you may be taking.
Lab Results/COAs/Third Party Testing
This might be the most important thing you should be looking for when you are interested in a CBD product. Make sure your product has lab results! Lab results can also be called a “COA”. That means Certificate of Analysis. This form is done by a lab that does third party testing. Every reputable brand will have third party testing and lab results for every single product that contains CBD or THC. If it doesn’t have these results that you can view as a consumer, then do not buy it!
Lab results will contain the percentages of each cannabinoid present in your product. Which helps inform you how much CBD is in your product, as well as if there’s any THC in it. If you work somewhere that you have drug testing, this is especially important for you to know. There is more on the “type of CBD” below. The lab results will also have testing results for “bad” ingredients, such as toxins and metals.
To find the specific COA for your product, you can find it on the brand’s website or on the product itself in the form of a QR code. If you buy your product from a retailer (like us, at The Green Dragon) you can find the lab results (COA) on the product’s page on our website under the tab “Lab Results”. That link will send you to a PDF that you can view.
Here’s a full guide on how to read your product’s COA.
Labels for any product are pretty important to have. Most likely you wouldn’t buy milk before checking the expiration date and even the type of milk you want to buy… so why should CBD be different? Of course the expiration date and things of that nature are important to note, but one of the major reasons to check the labels is for the ingredients. Some products may contain added ingredients, such as melatonin if you’re looking at products for sleep. Check for food sensitivities and other allergens when looking at your product’s label.
Here is a full list of what your CBD product’s label should contain;
- Name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
- Cannabinoid content
- Ingredients (including non-cannabis additives)
- Net quantity (weight)
- Lot, batch, or control number
- Production date
- Expiration date
- Instructions on how to use and store the product
- Suggested serving size or dosing information
- Warning labels
- QR code for lab results
Make sure your product has all of this information available to you! Here’s a good resource on how to read a CBD label.
Domestically Grown Products
Look for companies that say where their plants are grown. This isn’t a harp on other country’s abilities to grow good plants. This is to keep your products safe from toxins they can pick up in international transport and to keep your products processing as fresh as possible. This ensures that you are getting the best quality product that you absolutely can.
Domestically grown products also undergo strict regulations on growing and you must be a licensed producer in order to grow these plants. Read more on their rules and regulations on their website here.
Each product’s brand should have something on their website that states where their plants for the products are grown. You should be able to find this information in the About Us section or sometimes at the bottom of the home page. If you aren’t able to find that information easily, you can reach out to the company and they should be able to tell you where their plants are grown.
If you’re buying from a retailer, they should be able to assure you that the products they choose only come from domestically produced brands. If they can’t do that and you can’t find the information on the specific brand’s website… do not buy that product!
Type of CBD
To make a decision on what CBD product to buy, you need to know what type of CBD is in that particular product. There are 3 types of CBD products; full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. In short, full spectrum CBD products contain everything that is found in the plant and that includes some THC. Broad spectrum products will contain some, but not all, of the extracts that are naturally found in the plant. Isolate products contain strictly CBD.
Knowing what type and what percentages of each cannabinoid is important, especially if you are someone that is either sensitive to THC or you have to take drug tests. Drug tests pick up THC, regardless of where it comes from, unfortunately.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil
It’s SO DANG EASY to buy things online. I’m their key demographic and I’m pretty sure I’m single-handedly keeping Amazon afloat. So believe me when I say it’s hard to look at an online shop like Amazon and NOT buy something because it’s usually super cheap and easy, but that doesn’t mean you should in every realm. Buying CBD from big box shops like Amazon is in the realm of: DON’T DO IT.
The “CBD” products you find on places like Amazon are actually not CBD. These products are labeled as “Hemp Oil”. Now you’re probably saying “Brie, but doesn’t CBD come from Hemp plants?” To that I say “Yes, you’re learning! But also, ugh… just stay with me for a sec”. The products you find (mostly at places like Amazon, etc.) that are labeled “Hemp Oil” are actually made from hemp seeds. CBD products are made using the entire plant. Hemp Oil products that are made from the seeds may have some benefits, but they don’t contain CBD, terpenes, or other cannabinoids (THC) that you may be looking for. Furthermore, the CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids have much more benefits than just using the seeds for the Hemp Oil products.
Let me say it once more for the people in back: YOU CANNOT BUY CBD ON AMAZON! If you would like to read more on the difference in these types of products, read our blog here.
Other Important Factors
We went over what we believe are the top 5 most important things to look for when buying CBD, but that doesn’t mean that’s all you need to pay attention to when buying CBD products.
Other things you need to do when shopping for CBD products are;
Shop at reputable places (or online shops) with lab results, educated staff, informational resources, etc.
Ask yourself what CBD potency and dose is right for you. This is something educated staff can also help you with. You should figure out what dosage you need based on your body type and composition. You will also need to look at different potencies of the products.
What products are best for your lifestyle? If you’re an on-the-go type person, you’ll probably want a product that you can take with you or grab and go. If you prefer something that tastes good, you’ll probably be happier with a gummy or a tincture you can add to your favorite drink.
For a full resource on anything you need to know about buying CBD products, click here.
For the same reason you pay attention to the vitamins and food you buy; it’s going into your body! You want to be safe and healthy and you want effective products. Making sure you initially buy a quality product also helps you save money from purchasing crap products.
Short and sweet answer here is; NO. Whatever “CBD” product you buy on Amazon is most likely intentionally mislabeled and not actually CBD.
What if a car doesn’t pass inspection? You don’t buy it or drive it. (Most likely). If a product doesn’t have lab results, you don’t know if it has passed inspection for hazard toxins or not. Just don’t buy that product. Please.
Buying Quality CBD Products
Shopping around for CBD products might be a little overwhelming. If you’re feeling this way and looking for guidance or just have questions on products or CBD itself, you can contact us here at The Green Dragon CBD. We do want you to buy from us, of course, but more importantly, we want you to gain the knowledge and confidence in buying CBD (and THC) products. Contact us here to set up a consultation. We are here to help you find the product that is best for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, BRIE LOWREY
Brie Lowrey, resident Head of Customer Engagement here at The Green Dragon CBD, is a Kansas City Native now residing in St. Louis. She thrives on keeping up with social media trends, staying up-to-date on CBD news, and sending out office-wide dragon jokes. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, or read other posts by Brie.